The 2019 NWHL All-Star Weekend is just around the corner. After last year’s hugely successful All-Star game in Minnesota, there are some lofty expectations for this year’s star-studded event in Nashville. Last year, Team Ott bested Team Leveille 8–6 in the All-Star Game, but Team Leveille won the Skills Competition 4–3.
What you need to know
- Like we saw last year, this year’s All-Star Game will consist of two 25-minute halves.
- Also, like last year, the game will be streamed via Twitter. Last year’s game in Minnesota drew more than 580,000 unique viewers on the social media platform.
- Each team has 14 skaters and two goaltenders.
- The All-Star captains this year are Shannon Szabados of the Buffalo Beauts and Lee Stecklein of the Minnesota Whitecaps.
- There are eight returning All-Stars from last season: Amanda Leveille, Lexi Bender, Alyssa Gagliardi, Jillian Dempsey, Amanda Boulier, Courtney Burke, Michelle Picard, and Hayley Scamurra.
- Former NHLers Hal Gill and Chris Mason are this year’s honorary coaches. Both men played with the Predators during their NHL careers.
- The Skills Competition will take place Saturday, Feb. 9, at 5 p.m. CST at Ford Ice Center.
- The 2019 All-Star Game will be played at Bridgestone Arena, the home of the Nashville Predators, Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2:45 p.m. CST. /
Goaltenders: Shannon Szabados, Katie Burt (replaced Meeri Räisänen)
Defenders: Blake Bolden, Michelle Picard, Amanda Boulier, Savannah Harmon, Shannon Doyle, Lexi Bender
Forwards: Kendall Coyne Schofield, Amanda Kessel, Katerina Mrázová, Madison Packer, Amanda Pelkey, Audra Richards, Haley Skarupa, Hayley Scamurra
Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Amanda Leveille
Defenders: Courtney Burke, Lisa Chesson, Alyssa Gagliardi, Michelle Löwenhielm, Emily Pfalzer, Lee Stecklein
Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Jonna Curtis, Jillian Dempsey, Emily Fluke, Gigi Marvin, Kate Schipper, Allie Thunstrom
The need for speed
This year, the last two winners of the NWHL’s Fastest Skater Competition — Kristin Lewicki and Rebecca Russo — will be watching the contest from home. But worry not, there are more than enough speedsters in this fan favorite event to make things more interesting than ever before.
On Jan. 25, Kendall Coyne Schofield made headlines with her 14.326-second run at the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition in San Jose. This year, she is with teammate Allie Thunstrom, a former competitive speed skater, on the Minnesota Whitecaps. As fate would have it, Coyne Schofield and Thunstrom are on different teams for this All-Star Weekend.
Team Szabados: Michelle Picard, Amanda Pelkey, Lexi Bender, Kendall Coyne Schofield
Team Stecklein: Lisa Chesson, Jonna Curtis, Kate Schipper, Allie Thunstrom
Place your bets!
Blake Bolden, the winner of the Hardest Shot Competition in 2017, is back in the NWHL and is ready to reclaim her title, but she will definitely have some serious competition this year.
All-Star captain Lee Stecklein has a reputation for having a low, heavy shot, and there are a few other skaters who have some serious cannons. It’s just a shame that Toni Ann Miano and Kelsey Koelzer won’t be there to bulge the twine. They have two of the nastiest slap shots in the league.
Team Szabados: Blake Bolden, Amanda Boulier, Shannon Doyle, Audra Richards
Team Stecklein: Lee Stecklein, Michelle Löwenhielm, Alyssa Gagliardi, Courtney Burke
The other events
The NWHL announced the rest of the Skills events.
There will be two one-on-one races with the goaltender with the fastest time earning the point for her team.
Katie Burt vs. Amanda Levellie
Shannon Szabados vs. Nicole Hensley
The player who breaks all four targets in the fastest time.
Team Szabados: Hayley Scamurra, Haley Skarupa, Savannah Harmon
Team Stecklein: Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Emily Pfalzer
Trick Shot Challenge
Time to show off those tricky skills. The winner will be decided by the fans in attendance.
Team Szabados: Amanda Kessel, Madison Packer, Katerina Mrázová
Team Stecklein: Gigi Marvin, Emily Fluke, Jillian Dempsey
Go for Goal Shootout Relay
All the players will participate in this one. The team that scores the most goals in the allotted time is awarded the point.
Team Szabados wins by two or more goals in the All-Star Game after squeaking past Team Stecklein in the Skills Competition.
The speed and skill on Szabados’ squad is just downright silly. If last year’s All-Star Game taught us anything, it’s that we should expect a lot of rushes in Nashville. Team Szabados’ smooth-skating blue line should prove to be the difference, but we won’t know for sure until the puck is dropped on Sunday after the Nashville Predators host the St. Louis Blues.
Who do you think will win Sunday’s showdown in Nashville?
Who will win the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game?